Local podcast bridges gap between doctors and diverse communities

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A local podcast is bringing medical professionals and diverse communities together for important conversations about health and wellness.

The idea is to have doctors meet people where they are.

Community leaders Chad Roper and Mario Brown partnered with Advocate Aurora Health to create "Community Connections." The podcast focuses on informing diverse communities about health topics, including heart disease, diabetes and mental health.

"My goal is to just continue to put that out there for people, that there is help for you," Roper said.

What started as a virtual podcast, evolved into events where people can get important information without leaving their homes or neighborhoods.

"A lot of times we do events where people can walk, catch a bus, where it's in the community, instead of having it somewhere hard to get to," Roper said.

The September Conversation was filmed in front of a live audience at No Studios on Wednesday. The guest speaker, Dr. Munther Barakat discussed the importance of using different types of coping skills, like music therapy, to treat mental wellness.

Artists B Justice and Cigarette Break also performed.

"The idea is, is if we provide education in a non-threatening setting, then it will open the door to the possibility of them, you know, thinking about it and beginning the process of moving towards it," Barakat, the director of behavioral health therapy at Advocate Aurora Health, said.

Events like this one are intended to create a safe place for people, while also taking away the stigma behind asking for help.

"Mental wellness is for everybody, no matter your tax bracket, your color, your sexual orientation. It's for everybody," Roper said.

"Community Connections" is going beyond conversations by bringing resources and opportunities to listeners, even helping some get jobs.

"We are in the community, working with the community and working for them," Advocate Aurora Health Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Erickajoy Daniels said.

Podcasts and coordinating events are scheduled to take place every other month. Events are typically posted to social media

"What we're hearing is that the community is asking for more. They're asking for more relevance, they're asking for more connection. They're asking for more information," Daniels said.

Helping others get important resources became an unexpected passion for Roper.

"I don’t know. I just really like to help people," Roper said.

He hopes others benefit from it, too.

"If we save two, three lives, I'm cool with that," Roper said.

Previous podcast episodes can be found here.

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